A Breakthrough?

by Quendi 10 Replies latest jw friends

  • Quendi

    I'd like others' thoughts on this development for me.

    I was disfellowshipped seven years ago and made up my mind never to return some two years ago. Most Witnesses have shunned me, of course, but there are some still in the organization who associate with me. One of them lives in Southern California and has never ceased supporting me in various ways. He has also never stopped urging me to "come back to the meetings and come back to Jehovah's organization". I have told him I won't return, but I have never been harsh in my responses. Sometimes, when he gets quite emotional in his appeals, I simply let him talk and then say I appreciate his concern for my welfare. Now we have kept in touch via telephone, snail mail and e-mail but haven't seen each other face-to-face in nine years.

    Now there is a new development in our relationship. As I have related elsewhere, I have left my home of thirty years in Colorado and returned to Alabama to care for my aged mother. I believe I will be here for quite some time that may well be many months if not a few years. Finding myself in the East once more, I have decided to take advantage of my proximity to many places of interest and visit them. I am making a lot of plans, but the biggest one so far is a grand tour of the Eastern seaboard that will take place in Autumn 2013.

    The plan is to see much of the Southern Appalachians, then visit Washington D.C., Philadelphia (where I grew up), Boston and New Hampshire since I have friends in both of those places. I have asked this friend to come with me and there will be at least two others who want to accompany us making a foursome. We are already in the initial stages of planning this odyssey with my friend actively involved and even though it is more than 16 months off excitement is building.

    I was both surprised and pleased that my Witness friend agreed to come because this goes well beyond anything he has done for me since my departure from the organization. If the elders ever found out, they would disfellowship him immediately. Of that I have no doubt. A crowd of questions has arisen for me. Why is he coming along? Does he fully understand the risk he is taking if this is discovered? Is he coming because he is growing tired of the organization and wants more freedom? Is our friendship stronger than his fear of being disfellowshipped?

    If he does go through with this and takes part, I intend to use the two weeks we'll be together to talk lovingly and seriously about my reasons for never returning to the WTS. I also believe I should tell him he should consider "fading" and getting out for good and all. He owes it to himself and to those friends and family he has outside the organization.

    Am I right to think this way? I really believe this is a breakthrough and represents a golden opportunity to get my friend to reclaim his life. I want to be proactive about this without being fanatical, unreasoning, unloving and bullying. How should I handle this? The people of this forum have been wonderful in giving me counsel in the past when I had problems of this type before. You helped me design the best approach to my friend Mark when we met again after a five-year separation. I ask your help again in this matter.


  • usualusername


    I will reply you whence I have had some sleep.........

  • jemba

    Personally I think you should let him know your thoughts on the 'truth' before you set out. That way he is not in an awkward position if he still believes in all the BS from the WT. Give him time to digest that you are an 'apostate' first. Get those important questions answered before hand.

    Then if he still goes with you which he probably will by the sounds of things, then its all out in the open and you can encourage him to get out.

    Im so happy for you Q sounds like a blast!

  • Flossycat

    Hi Quendi. It's been a week or two since I've been on the forum and I've just read your blog. I'm an Aussie, and travelled for 6 months like a gypsy across the U.S. in 1991, living out of an old Ford Squire wagon me and then-partner bought in San Bernadino. Are Piggly-Wiggly stores still around the south-east? Sometimes when we stayed at KOA campgrounds across the southern states the people running them were real die-hard Christians - "praise the lord," and "I hear what you're sayin'." Well-meaning, but they give me the creeps. The rhodadendrons growing wild in the forests through Tennessee and Kentucky etc were magical - nothing like Australian forests, that's for sure. We stayed in Evergreen in Colorado with some locals we met. Just beautiful. I really loved the American people.

    Anyway, about your Californian friend. He already knows your position about the JW religion. So I'd say look forward to your holiday together as old friends, and don't raise the subject of religion. Let him raise the subject if he wants to. Then you reiterate how you feel.

    Many years ago I met up with an exJW girlfriend I hadn't seen in years. We were both still single, and as we were driving down the road together we talked about lots of things other than religion. Then she confided to me she'd been disfellowshipped for fornication, but after a year she decided it was too lonely out in the world, and got reinstated. My only comment was that I'd found lots of friends 'in the world' who are very good people, and liked my life as it is. That was fine by her. She was pretty understanding.

    Later, when I found Franz's Crisis of Conscience I rang her with the exciting news about some of the things I'd found. She got really huffy and said that book is full of lies. I asked her in all innocence had she read it? She said no, and almost hung up the phone in my ear.

    Your friend, unless he's since had a change of heart about the JWs, might still be trying to save your poor soul.

    So, that's my take on it. No doubt when the time comes for you, you'll get the appropriate gut-feeling on how to proceed.

    Best wishes, and keep in touch to let us know how things go, eventually.



  • nugget

    you have high hopes for the trip and it is possible that he has hopes too. He may see this as a wonderful opportunity to preach to you and encourage you to come back. If you confront him and try to persuade him to fade and this is not something he wants or has considered, then you are in danger of souring the whole trip. Be wary about making assumptions about someone else's state of mind, witnesses are tenacious and deeply programmed if you push them too hard they shut down and become hostile. Do not presume that your years of friendship will count for anything if you push the wrong buttons.

    I would wait and see what his expectations are before you launch into a statement about fading. I would try to keep topics neutral of religion and you can ask gentle questions such as if he hadn't been a witness what might he have done differently? If he asks about your current status ask him if he has ever had doubts? This way things are less likely to blow up in your face. Try to guage his perspective before volunteering information tht may seem challenging.

    It sounds like a fabulous trip I hope all goes well.

  • Fernando

    Hey Quendi!

    I believe nugget makes some good points.

    Assumptions can get both of you into a real spot of bother on this.

    You may want to gently explore where he is at on his journey, what his biggest issues with the Watchtower are, and what his expectations of you and your time together are.

    Then of course you need to share similar with him.

    And there needs to be enough common ground, or agreement on expectations, or demarcation of the boundaries of discussion and interaction.

    Without knowing where you are at spiritually, I personally would seek common ground and boundaries in the powerfully transformative and liberating "good news" which is in their publications but not in their hearts or on their lips. This is what helped our family of 4 beat 4 decades and 4 generations of addiction to the Watchtower and religion.

    Finally I believe there is wisdom in a multitude of counsellors and power in prayer for spiritual wisdom...

  • BreathoftheIndianNose

    I agree with the comments. Especially Jemba's. If your friend was all emotional on the phone and entreating you to return, it more than likely means he's still under its control. I would tell him before he comes out, what your possition is. However, if you are really frank and honest about how you feel about it, chances are he wouldn't come out because he would instantly label you as appostate. But if you still tell him how you feel, but be a little more subtle, he might still consider it. He will know what to expect and, if you do it right, he won't shut down think of you as evil. Once you two are together, you can occasionally get him to question things, but do so with caution. Basically though, the point I think is most important is that it can be very dangerous and not to mention, awkward, if he comes out with a misunderstood idea of your position.

    All the best homie.

    Keep us updated as to what happens. We could all learn a little more from the experience, so that we can better help others.

    Indian kNose

  • OMJ

    He's willing to go on a trip with a disfellowshipped person? sounds like saying screw you to the borg without saying it!

  • Ding

    I hope it works out, but be steeled emotionally for disappointment.

    Odds are strong that if you don't bring up religion he will -- either to plead with you to come back into "the truth" or to open up and tell you about all his own doubts... maybe even both.

    Questions usually work better than statements, and going slowly usually works better than firing with both barrels.

  • 00DAD

    Wow, that's an encouraging story.

    Just a suggestion, you may want to refrain from using your friends name and details about him in your post, just in case!

    I hope your trip goes as planned!

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